|By John McDermott, The Post and Courier,
Charleston, S.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 10, 2011--Work is getting ready to ramp up on the first full-service hotel to be built on the Charleston peninsula in about a decade.
After several years of fits and starts, Tara Capital Partners said it plans to break ground within a couple weeks on a 120-room Holiday Inn at 425 Meeting St.
Preliminary work already is under way, said Hasmukh Patel, chief executive officer of Charlotte-based Tara.
"We're doing some final things to the site before we pull the building permits," Patel said. He estimated that the new hotel would be ready for guests by this time in 2012.
The project has been several years in the making. Tara Group acquired the land for the hotel in 2006 for $2.5 million. The timing was pushed back in part because of the recession that began in late 2007.
Also, the project had to be scaled back from its original concept -- 180 guest rooms and nearly two dozen residential condominiums -- when a deal to use an adjacent piece of land fell through.
Patel said his group is proceeding now because downtown Charleston has outperformed most of its peers in terms of occupancy rates and room rates.
"Charleston always has been a stronger tourist market, even during the downturn. It wasn't impacted as much as some of the other cities like Savannah or Myrtle Beach, which obviously was badly affected," he said.
Also, Tara was encouraged by the renewed interest among other developers in that area of the city. Projects that are moving forward include a 200-unit apartment building proposed near Meeting and Spring streets.
"We feel that with our project and the apartment project north of us ... this part of the downtown has good potential for other developments," he said.
Patel said the amenities will include a restaurant, bar, pool and meeting space.
The contractor is Dargan Construction Co. of Myrtle Beach.
The last full-service hotel built on the peninsula was the Market Pavilion at East Bay and Market streets. It opened in August 2002 after a lengthy construction schedule.
"There hasn't been any new supply into the market," Patel noted. "Things have started picking up over the last year and this year. Hopefully things will have settled down more by next year."
Reach John McDermott at 937-5572.
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